Back in 2007, Oscar De La Hoya took Floyd Mayweather the distance and lost via split decision in a 154-pound fight that wound up being the biggest money bout of all-time, setting gate records in Nevada and pay-per-view records that have yet to be seriously approached, and may not be any time soon.
But De La Hoya, now exclusively a promoter, says that Canelo Alvarez in 2013 is better than he himself was six years ago, disagreeing with HBO Sports judge and analyst Harold Lederman's assessment of the September 14 bout between Alvarez and Mayweather:
"Harold Lederman doesn't know what went on behind the scenes with my training, with me physically, with me being in the right state of mind. ... I trained hard. I trained like an animal. I trained like a beast. I always felt that there was nobody who trained harder than me. But, obviously my personal demons that I go through and face, were in the way of me being at my best. ... Canelo is a guy who is young, who is fresh, who takes care of himself in the gym. He's training as we speak. Learning every single day, growing every single day."
Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KO) is at the very least seen as a much more imposing challenge for Mayweather (44-0, 26 KO) than Robert Guerrero was on May 4, when Floyd returned after a year off to easily defeat "The Ghost."
The question is whether or not Canelo is good enough and ready enough to make for an actual tough night for the best fighter in the world.
As for De La Hoya's assessment, I wouldn't count this out as just promoterspeak, either. Alvarez is young, hungry, strong, and much bigger than Floyd in terms of frame. The catchweight really should not matter at all, either. De La Hoya in 2007 had a foot out the door and, he says, personal issues he was dealing with, which by all accounts is no BS. Oscar just wasn't himself those last few fights, and while he was still a damn good fighter when he faced Floyd, the bit he'd slipped was more than enough to counteract the size advantage he had over the then-budding superstar.